I have decided to write a blog about my journey looking to buy a vintage car (my first one). I’m going to post it in stages as I go along from finding the car right through to getting it back to the UK and getting her running.
I have been looking for a Chrysler 75 Roadster for about 2 years now, my father has one and we’ve spent many a fun weekend racing round the East Yorkshire countryside and entering various rallies, with some success. It is for this reason I decided I wanted my first vintage car to be of this sort (After all the fun we had had, I knew I wanted a vintage car and I knew I wanted it to be a Chrysler 75). My thinking was I can get some added assistance with the inevitable troubles that come with owning a vintage car and also “borrow” spares as and when I require them.
The biggest problem facing me is that these cars are now few and far between and most owners don’t want to part with their beloved motor. The Chrysler 75 is of American origin and getting on for 90 years old, so it’s not just a case of phoning up a local dealer (or even an international one at that) and putting your order in. After spending hundreds of hours trawling the Internet and looking through classifieds in various car magazines, I decided my best bet would be to actually go over to the states and try and track one down. I sent a few emails to people who I had spoken with on car forums in America and after some friendly advice, I coincided my trip with the AACA fall meet at Hershey, one of the biggest car shows and gatherings in the world. I figured that if i was going to track down a 75 then this would be the place to do it, or at least I might bump in to someone in the know.
I took a flight to Philadelphia and made my way to Hershey, PA. After getting my head around the size of the place, I started walking around the car carrel looking at all that was on offer. I soon realised that this was going to be a much harder task than first thought. After several hours of looking at some jaw dropping cars, my search came to an end in vain. I decided to start exploring the 11 miles of auto-jumble and hoped to come across a Chrysler man that may be able to point me in the right direction. After searching through stall after stall of fenders, gasoline pumps and old vintage signage, I finally noticed a large Chrysler banner. It belonged to a gentleman I had been in contact with on the internet. As luck would have it, in his tent was another British lady who had purchased a Chrysler 77 and was being fitted out with all the spares her heart could desire. We got chatting and she told me of the issues she was having getting the car she had purchased out of the country and back to the U.K due to the car not having the appropriate paperwork. She had bought the car nearly 3 months earlier and this was her second trip to the states trying to get the car back home. This was a lesson I was glad not to have had to learn first hand (I will detail more on this in another post).
Down the next isle, amongst all the spares, we bumped into a man that turned out to be the proud owner of no less than 3 Chrysler 75 roadsters. One was an immaculate original example, a concourse winner and even if he would have considered parting with it (he wouldn’t) it was way out of my price range. I explained that I was looking for more of a “fixer upper”. He said he had another that was in a really bad way but unfortunately he had no title for it as it was not needed in the state he lived in and thus would be no good to me as I wouldn’t be able to export it. My bad luck continued as he did have another that might have been of interest to me had I seen him earlier. As it turned out he had sold the car only days before and was preparing to ship it somewhere in Europe. The news was devastating, the car was exactly what I was looking for, in great shape but needing work and at the right price. To miss out on the perfect car by a matter of days was hard news to take, but alas there was nothing to be done.
I searched around for another few days for the elusive 75 but had no luck. I left my contact details with as many people as possible in the hope of being the first to hear about one if it came available and with a heavy heart my trip was over and I headed back to the UK.
This was back at the end of 2016 and since then I have carried on searching on a daily basis. From time to time I will get a notification or email about a 75 for sale, but they have always turned out to be old adverts or different body styles such as Sedans or Pheatons. At the end of May I was performing my daily ritual, searching through various websites, the muscle memory of the task and predictive search almost making the task a subconscious one, when i came across an advert on Ebay for a 1929 Chrysler 75. The listing had only been up for a matter of minutes. I quickly read through it and looked over the pictures to ensure it was what was advertised. I contacted the seller and asked all the necessary questions and told him of my intentions to bring the car to the UK. Roughly two hours later I had a phone number for the gentleman and, after establishing that all the correct paperwork was with the car, a deal was struck. In less than three hours the car was removed from eBay and I was contacting shipping companies to get the car back to the U.K. At last, after two long years of searching, I had found the car I was looking for. I didn’t want to get over excited just yet as no money had exchanged hands and I was still dealing with a faceless person over 4500 miles away. Was this a scam? Was the car real? All these doubts started jumping into my head. It seemed too good to be true. Did the car actually exist?